ChatGPT: What it means for foodservice

ChatGPT has created headlines the world over as the artificial intelligence-based software opens new doors in many sectors and professions. Amelia Levin explores the possibilities for the sophisticated software in foodservice

ChatGPT and other AI chatbots can seem terrifying and sad for professional humans in some ways, but also somewhat useful and downright fun, depending on how you look at – and use – the technology.

It’s a sentiment reflected by FCSI member Erik Haviland, founder of FUZE, a video production, marketing, and business consultancy. “The technology is only in its beginning stages and it’s cool to see how it’s going to evolve,” he says.

Before everyone was talking about it like they are now, techies were creating their own custom chatbots using Open AI and other platforms for use as math tutors and personal therapists. One woman even plugged in diary entries she kept for 10 years as a young girl to be able to talk to her childhood self.

The most accessible (meaning free) and easy-to-use chatbot platform now is ChatGPT by Open AI. It’s a little like Google on steroids. Like to cook and want to have some fun? Tell it what you have on hand and it will offer you some good dinner ideas with full recipes.

“Here’s another scenario,” Haviland says. “Maybe you own, or are part of, a small firm that doesn’t have a dedicated marketer on staff and you have to be more top of mind about marketing and social media. You have to get more eyes on the work you’re doing to get more business. Everyone’s telling you to write or contribute to blogs, post more on social, but who has the time for that? That’s where ChatGPT can come into play.”

Content creation or incorrect information?

FCSI members are leaders and experts in their field – the knowledge they possess about building and equipping commercial kitchens is vast. Haviland suggests recording yourself talking about a certain topic, or have someone ask you about a certain topic, say the benefits of a combi-oven, in a five-minute video that’s recorded with a digital translator. Take that recording, plug it into ChatGPT or Jasper, ask for a short blog post or social media post and  you have the beginnings of some decent content. You can even use ChatGPT for some basic website copy, or just ask it what topics are trending to know what to talk about in the first place.

Haviland subscribes to a paid-for, more advanced platform called Jasper because it has more sophisticated solutions for content creators and marketers. For example, he can record a meeting or interview on Zoom or Teams, plug it into a transcription service like, and then plug the written transcription into Jasper, selecting whether he wants to create a blog post, short article, social media post or other. In seconds he has the start of some decent content.

Here’s the rub: it doesn’t always state the facts right off the bat. Want a good test? Ask ChatGPT to “write a bio for [insert your name], a [occupation] from [insert location].” When I did so I saw some fact, but also plenty of fiction (that I wish were true). ChatGPT by Open AI declares such limitations on the homepage: “May occasionally generate incorrect information.” “May occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content.” “Limited knowledge of world events after 2021.”

Potential for rampant plagiarism aside, its capabilities are growing. It’s trained to decline inappropriate requests, remembers what a user said in an earlier conversation and allows users to provide follow-up corrections.

We’ve been seeing robots in kitchens for a while. They’re useful for flipping burgers, frying fries and tossing salads. But just like anything else – they still need human interaction and supervision.

“Technically, it’s not AI, it’s still machine learning,” says Haviland. “But it’s great if you just need a little nudge. And it gets better the more you use it.”

Amelia Levin

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